Kaye signs with Jays
Like most siblings, Brandon Kaye looks up to his older brother.
So Wednesday was a big day for the 22-year-old North Langley resident as he accepted a free agent offer from the Toronto Blue Jays.
Kaye’s older brother, Scott Richmond, is already in the Jays’ organization, currently pitching at the AAA level with the Las Vegas 51s. The 31-year-old Richmond has also played for Toronto at the Major League Baseball level in his career, going 9-15 with a 5.26 earned run average in 34 appearances.
“It is a pretty surreal feeling,” Kaye said.
“Just the fact that if I take advantage of this opportunity and play well, I may have an opportunity to play with Scott.
“It is a dream come true.”
Kaye spoke with Richmond after accepting his free agent deal.
“He said he couldn’t be happier,” Kaye said. “The stereotypical stuff, but it means a lot coming from him because he is someone I look up to.”
“He is somebody who has given me the drive to do what I want to do.”
Kaye, a six-foot-four, 205-pound right-handed pitcher, has been on the Jays’ radar since 2009 when they drafted him in the 45th round of MLB’s 50-round draft.
But Kaye, a Walnut Grove graduate who pitched in the B.C. Premier League with the North Shore Twins, chose to stay in school.
He pitched for Douglas College in 2009 and then spent the past two seasons with the UBC Thunderbirds.
“When I came to UBC, I obviously had high expectations after getting drafted,” Kaye said.
Part of his reason for staying at the collegiate level was to change from being just a “thrower” to becoming “more of a pitcher, and smarter on the mound.”
Last year he went 7-3 in 13 appearances, with a 3.42 earned run average and 51 strikeouts. Opponents hit .228 against Kaye who was second on the team in innings pitched at 73.2.
“I thought I had a great year, and made some improvements,” he said.
But he struggled in 2011, going 4-5 in 13 games, with a 5.09 ERA. His strikeouts were down to 31 and opponents had a batting average of .283. His innings were also down to 58.1.
“I had my ups and downs, struggling with my command and mechanics, but I tried to stay positive and kept working at it,” Kaye said.
“It didn’t work out for me like I wanted it to, but it all worked out for me in the end and I got the opportunity I want.”
“I really wasn’t expecting much from the draft or to get drafted at all,” he added.
“Just to get an opportunity from the Blue Jays, I feel great, I feel ecstatic.
“It is almost like that same feeling back in ’09 when I got drafted.”
Kaye could very well begin his professional career close to home with the Single A (short season) Vancouver Canadians.
While it is a ways down the road, and no guarantee that it may even happen, Kaye is thrilled for the chance to potentially be teammates with his brother.
“Just the fact that if I take advantage of this opportunity and play well, I may have an opportunity to play with Scott, it is a dream come true,” Kaye said.
His parents are also thrilled.
“They are happy they can say they have a second son who is a Blue Jay.”